Daily Archives: December 23, 2011

Five Loaves and Eight Turkeys: A Juarez Thanksgiving Miracle

A few days ago I had lunch with my good friend James, the Juarez Gentle Giant. James started a ministry in Juarez a couple of years ago to reach out to drug and alcohol addicts. In addition, he ministers to the children who fill the streets of his poor neighborhood.

On Thanksgiving Day, an American Holiday, James decided to bring this celebration to the people of his violent neighborhood in Juarez. He slaved in the kitchen baking pies, and roasting turkeys. The men from his halfway house pitched in and produced an amazing spread of food complete with turkey, dressing, vegetables, rolls, and pie.

As the sweet aroma of this feast began to permeate the neighborhood a crowd began to form outside his modest house. When lunchtime rolled around James opened the doors and invited his friends and neighbors in to feast with him in celebration of God’s goodness. As you might expect word spread in this neighborhood where most people struggle to make ends meet and the line for food got longer and longer.

In preparation for the day James had purchased and roasted eight turkeys but it appeared he had under prepared as the line grew. People kept stepping up and filling the plates–one after another until all had been feed. When James took a head count he had feed two hundred and eighty-one (281) people with eight turkeys. You can do the math that’s roughly thirty-five (35) people per turkey! Plus just like in the feeding of the five thousand in Jesus’ day he had one zip lock bag of turkey left over.

After doing the math and thinking about my over fifty years of Thanksgiving dinners, I suspected that I had stumbled onto a miracle. Even James marveled at what had happened that afternoon in his backyard among friends. Of course some might suggest that it was simply the result of larger than normal turkeys and small portions given out that created this “miracle.” However, let me share with you the real miracle, or as Paul Harvey would say it “the rest of the story.”

James is a professional beggar to keep his ministry going. He sells key chains and candy on the streets to make ends meet. In addition, James goes door to door to churches and business leaders to ask for their financial support. He sleeps in the equivalent of a walk in closet on a cot. He hasn’t had a new set of clothes in over a year, and does not have enough money to go home for Christmas. Yes, I believe the real miracle is James–a generous follower of Jesus!

I wonder what a miraculous world we would live in if more of us were more like James who seeks to be more like Jesus. If you want to see a miracle–why not start by giving of yourself to those in need.

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